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Pitching the Tug McGraw Foundation into the National Spotlight
The Tug McGraw Foundation (TMF) is a non-profit organization established by legendary major league baseball pitcher Tug McGraw and his son, Grammy Award-winning musician Tim McGraw, following Tug’s diagnosis of a brain tumor. TMF recognized the need to build relationships among patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals to strengthen long-term support for those diagnosed with potentially debilitating brain tumors. When TMF was selected as a charity partner for the 2007 ING New York City Marathon, the organization saw an opportunity to reach a wider audience.
By sharing the personal stories of Team McGraw runners, Ritz Communications helped broaden awareness of how brain tumors can impact a life and highlighted the need for research. Ritz conducted outreach to identify the needs of journalists in developing stories for their audiences and provided materials that reinforced TMF messages and profiled individual members of Team McGraw. Additionally, template documents and “how-to” guidance for working with local media were provided to runners to secure feature coverage in their own communities.
Ritz helped TMF maximize this opportunity with measurable results, including:
- Helping to raise $280,000 (more than triple the original fundraising goal)
- Securing national feature coverage on TODAY and MSNBC and in USA Today, as well as in key special interest publications and TMF strategic markets
- Logging 90,000 visitors (three times the usual number) on the TMF website after TODAY interviewed a brain tumor survivor running the Marathon
- Advising the more than half of Team McGraw runners who secured feature media coverage in their communities (of the 36 team runners, 26 raised more than their requisite minimum of $3,500)
- Being honored with public relations industry awards as an exceptionally successful campaign
“The Ritz Communications team recognized a good opportunity to highlight the Tug McGraw Foundation’s mission through the personal story of an inspiring young cancer survivor. They pulled together all pieces of the story – the patient, the medical expert, and the foundation representative – and made it all work without a hitch. They take care to pitch only when they know the story is there. Their ability to tailor a pitch to fit my needs is outstanding.”